Dorm Room “Day-kover”

My youngest daughter is spending her senior year in college living in an off-campus apartment with 3 other girls. Having been through this with my oldest daughter, I know a dorm room can be pretty uninspiring.

That was definitely the case with my daughter’s bedroom in this house which was rather bland. So I planned a fun little “day-kover” for the room. Meaning, a makeover I could do in one day.

Even though I did the makeover in a day, obviously lots of planning was done prior to the day of the makeover. Here is what we were starting with. Blank canvas.

dorm bedroom before


The desk was already in the room and we bought her a new bed. Before I break down what I did in here, I’ll go straight to the after photo because I really didn’t take any in-progress pics as I went. Unless you count the photos of the cats that live in the house, in that case I have many. 🙂

college dorm room decorating ideas I wanted to make the bed area really stand out, but I had no intentions of buying a headboard.

A gallery wall was considered, but I wasn’t really feeling that. I wanted to soften up the starkness of the room. My daughter was interested in a tapestry, but I thought that was a bit cliche.

I suggested we try a canopy using curtains to soften things up and she was agreeable to that. It was simple enough to do. I bought two very inexpensive tension rods from Walmart and a four pack of curtain panels (84″ L) from Home Goods. The tension rods came with hooks that worked perfectly for attaching these to the wall. You could easily do this with jumbo command hooks if making holes in the wall isn’t an option. I put two in the wall a few inches down from the ceiling.

how to hang a canopy of curtains

I hung two of the curtain panels on the first tension rod and hung that on the wall. For the upper canopy, I used two ceiling hooks (command also makes ceiling hooks).  I put the next two curtain panels on the second tension rod and hung the rod on the ceiling hooks. The biggest problem with this part was reaching the ceiling, I didn’t realize these were 9 ft ceilings until this part.

Once I had the second rod hung from the ceiling, I tucked those panels behind the rod attached to the wall, leaving enough out to create the draped canopy effect.

how to hang a canopy using curtains over the bed

For further interest I added a picture to the wall, tucking the curtains behind it. I had that picture leftover from the set of neutral wall prints I added over the sofa in my family room. I accidentally ordered one in pink, so that worked out for this room.

The chandelier isn’t really a chandelier. It’s a decorative piece I found at Home Goods, it’s not actually wired. If we decide to reuse that later elsewhere it’ll be easy enough to drop a light in there.


amazing dorm room before and after


I showed you last week how we organized the desk area so I won’t repeat that. Every room needs greenery, but we went very minimal on real plants because 3 cats live in this house. They like to snack on plants.

siamese cat


Instead, I got this artificial Ficus tree and I can’t tell you how much both my daughter and I love it.

Nearly Natural magnolia tree

I already had the pot, I bought it at a flea market last weekend. It just so happened the ficus looked perfect in it.

I added sheer white curtains to the windows with a cute pom-pom trim. I tied them back with ribbon I had saved from a throw blanket I bought. Anyone else save those? They’re always too pretty to throw away.



We did an assorted mix of pillows on the bed to keep it from being too matchy-matchy and because most of them we already had.

throw pillows and college dorm room bedding


The stacked books serve as an extra surface for drinks.

dorm room kitty


We also added this faux string of pearl hanging plant. I love this type of succulent plant but I have a hard time keeping the real ones alive. Faux plants are also a good choice for this room considering that with my daughter’s schedule she won’t really have time to worry about keeping plants alive.

hanging succulent pearl plant


I think Zelda and Sklyer approve. 🙂

dorm room kittys


Overall, I think this dorm room came out pretty good for a “day-kover”. My only regret is that I didn’t order two of the artificial ficus trees because I really wanted to keep that for my house!

Beautiful artificial ficus tree


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Simple dorm room decorating ideas that look chic! See the before and after of this college bedroom makeover!



*This dorm room post was in partnership with Nearly Natural and may contain affiliate links, all opinions are 100% my own. You can read my full disclosure here.


  1. Beautiful! The housemates must want a day-kover of their own! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Claudine!

  2. What a lucky girl she is to have such a creative mom, it looks great!
    I bet the roommates are totally jealous 😉 I think i’m going to try the
    Canopy in my guest room, i already have all the supplies for it ☺️

    1. Thank you, Jill. Good luck with your canopy!

  3. Roxanne, what an amazing home away from home you created for your daughter. It looks amazing. What any girl wouldn’t want this room? Her room will be the one everyone will want to go to gather. Very pretty!

    1. Thank you, Terrie. 🙂

  4. This looks so pretty Roxanne. You have gone above and beyond. And that canopy was very inspired!!

  5. Wow – that definitely does not look like a dorm room! HOw beautiful! I am sure your daughter is loving it. The idea for the canopy is just perfect.
    Cheers to a great school year!

  6. Wow! I love it! I have to scroll up to read the title again, this doesn’t look like a dorm room at all, or maybe my dorm room back then was too ugly.

  7. Rashida Erskine says:

    Beautiful – love it! LucKy girl!

  8. Rashida Erskine says:

    Where did you get the macrame plant hanger?

    1. Believe it or not, I found that at Shop Rite!

  9. Gail G Stephens says:

    All very nice. You did a great job. Love the Kitties too!

  10. ILENE BERNIK says:

    Lovely room. YOur daughter is lucky to have a willing & creative Mom. Love that she was involved in the process. It is her room; not Mom’s. About the tensions rods. It doesn’t appear there are two wals to put them between. Did you choose them because they are inexpensive AND HAVE LENGTH POTENTIAL?rather than buying a standard curtain rod cut to length? THANK YOU. ILENE

    1. Thank you, Ilene. Yes, I chose tension rods because they are less expensive but also because they are lighter and thinner. That made it easier to hang them from the wall hooks.

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